Jan 21

final-jur-e headline

New Jersey Ethics: Lawyers Can Face Discipline for Discriminatory Jury Selection Practices

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics issued a notice erasing a 1998 advisory opinion that lawyers should not face discipline for using peremptory challenges to exclude potential jurors based on their race, suggesting that ethics charges may be justified for such conduct.  The decades old opinion stated that using race-based peremptory challenges is not prohibited under New Jersey's Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g).  In a January 7 notice to the bar, the Committee said that withdrawing the opinion "does not imply that every use of a peremptory challenge found to fall within [the Batson doctrine] is necessarily an ethical violation, but merely eliminates the categorical exclusion from consideration under" rule 8.4(g).

California Bill Advances to Improve Jury Diversity

In 2019 the Golden State added state income tax rolls to the list of sources for its trial courts to summon potential jurors. Law 360 ($) reports the California Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month voted unanimously to enable federal courts to use the income tax rolls for jury summoning.

Federal Judge Emphasizes Truth Telling in Stormy Daniels v. Michael Avenatti Jury Selection

Jury selection in the fraud trial against celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti began last week in a New York federal court.  In explaining to jurors how they were to fill out a 90-page pretrial questionnaire, ABC News reports U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman emphasized the potential for perjury charges against those who give false answers.

Judge Tells Jury Someone Tested COVID-positive: Then What?

During a homicide trial in Madison, Wisconsin, Judge John Hyland gathered the jurors to say someone in the case tested positive for the coronavirus.  While not disclosing it was the defendant who so tested, he informed them the trial would be delayed until further notice.  He added, “I do encourage you to stay healthy and well. I’ve been telling people the jury had been one of the best I’ve had on my time on the bench.”

Voir Dire Lessons: Pediatrics Research Suggests Gender Identity of Child Assault Victim Generates Jury Verdict Bias

Mock Jurors' Perceptions of Child Sexual Abuse Cases Involving Sexual and Gender Minority Victims” was published this month by the University of Toledo.  The research findings provide how to approach jury selection in prosecution of child assault perpetrators.  For example, the authors found when the victim was cisgender versus transgender, mock jurors were more likely to convict, rated the defendant less credible, and rated the victim more credible.